This post isn't about compatriots, who are persons who happen to be citizens of the same nation. This is about com-patriots -- persons who happen to be citizens of the same nation and who share a moral commitment to the defense of that nation and its ideals. This post is necessarily also about anti-patriots -- citizens who do not evidence the same moral commitment. The nation in question, of course, is the United States.
What, then, is American com-patriotism? I begin with this definition of patriotism:
Love of and devotion to one's country.
Which I expand to get American com-patriotism, which is decidedly not mere flag-waving. It is:
- A devotion to the ideals of life, liberty, and property, to which the nation was dedicated by the Declaration of Independence.
- An understanding that the attainment of the Declaration's ideals is served through the Constitution's essential principles: (a) a limited role for government in the affairs of citizens; (b) mutual defense of the life, liberty, and property of citizens.
- Defense of the nation's ideals against enemies -- foreign and domestic -- by upholding the principles of the Constitution.
There are many legitimate ways by which a citizen may contribute to the defense of the nation's ideals; for example: reasoned questioning of the aims, policies, and actions of government; honorable service in the armed forces; or reasoned challenges to those who seek to use the levers of government to deprive their citizens of liberty and property. Such are com-patriotic acts.
But it is not com-patriotic to speak or act in blatant disregard of the nation's founding ideals and principles of governance; for example:
- It is reprehensible to publish in The New York Times (or any other newspaper) detailed accounts of various necessarily secret efforts to combat terrorism. (Some would, with justification, call it treasonous.)
- It is hypocritical to profess love of country and then to oppose efforts to combant terrorism -- without offering feasible alternatives -- simply because you abhor Republicans generally and the Republican president particularly.
- It is arrogant of the fat-cats who inhabit Congress to cry crocodile tears about the plight of this year's fashionable underdog, and then to make that underdog's supposed plight yet another excuse for assuming powers not granted by the Constitution -- at the expense of all diligent non-underdogs.
- It is abhorrent that the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court subvert the clear meaning of the Constitution, as they acquiesce in the arrogance of Congress and commit their own feats of arrogance, solely for the purpose of assuaging their personal (non-legal) preferences) and in complete disregard of the rule of law.
Such acts endanger the lives, liberty, and property of peaceable, honorable Americans. Such acts flout the Constitution. They are not to be tolerated. They must be called what they are: anti-patriotic. That is what I will call them at every opportunity.
Related reading: American Exceptionalism (Wikipedia), Points of No Return (Eternity Road)
Patriotism and Taxes
Shall We All Hang Separately?
Foxhole Rats, Redux
Know Thine Enemy
The Faces of Appeasement
Whose Liberties Are We Fighting For?
Words for the Unwise
More Foxhole Rats
Moussaoui and "White Guilt"
The New York Times: A Hot-Bed of Post-Americanism
Post-Americans and Their Progeny
Certain Unalienable Rights
The First Roosevelt
"Peace for Our Time"
Anti-Bush or Pro-Treason?
Consent of the Governed
Slopes, Ratchets, and the Death Spiral of Liberty